Doesn't add much worthwhile to a stale formula
When the first Lego Star Wars game showed up in 2005, it was one of the most surprisingly good licensed games ever made. The charm of the children's toys, the ability to play as a huge variety of action hero characters, the humor – they all combined to make a charming action platformer. If you have played either of the Lego Star Wars games, then for the most part, you have played Lego Indiana Jones. The level design doesn't seem quite as tight this time, and the source material isn't nearly as good as Star Wars. And with all of the Lego games out there, the formula is also getting a bit stale, charming as it was in the past. After playing through it, this is one game that I would recommend passing by.
The biggest problem with Lego Indiana Jones is the source material. If you are a big Star Wars fan, then you may have been looking forward to the opportunity to play as Obi-wan, Anakin, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, or any of the other dozens of Star Wars characters worthy of playing heroes in an action game. Unlike Star Wars, there is only one strong action hero in the series – Indy himself. Have you ever thought about how great it would be to play Marcus Brody or Satipo? Ehh, me neither. The movies, in general, aren't as good either. The first movie was good and the third movie wasn't bad, but the second movie was horrible. Travelers Tales has done their best to work with it, but they can't make Temple of Doom not suck, no matter how hard they try.
The game features mostly the same level design as the Star Wars games. You punch stuff to destroy it and collect studs. You button-mash your way through hundreds of enemies. You use all sorts of special abilities to solve puzzles. The graphics consist mostly of simple, blocky shapes that get the job done, but won't be confused with the Unreal 3 engine anytime soon (but this isn't a problem). You can unlock dozens of extras by collecting money and hidden items.
The plan is getting a little bit old, and in this game, it isn't executed as well. One of the annoying problems that the game has is infinitely respawning enemies. Almost every level has respawning enemies, and they get extremely annoying when you are trying to explore or experiment. These games have always rewarded you for sticking around a level and trying different ways to reach tough areas. The enemies in this game respawn so fast that you hardly have time to do this. The enemies aren't as much fun to fight as they were in the Star Wars games, largely because of the lack of lightsabers and laser blasters. The jumping puzzles also seem touchier this time, and because if it, you will probably die more often. Particularly irritating are the times when you barely land or walk onto an edge and then slide off. The game also lacks a great vehicle level (such as the pod race level in the first Lego Star Wars).
Travelers Tales still gets a lot out of the material in some clever ways. The puzzles have been upgraded with a lot of new mechanics, such as getting a monkey to toss you a critical object by tossing him a banana. They also make the most of Willie – one of the most annoying characters in the history of cinema. Her idiotic scream can paralyze enemies and break glass. Let it never be said that the developers don't have a clever sense of humor.
Unfortunately, however, this sense of humor isn't enough to repeat the charm of the Lego Star Wars games. Lego Indiana Jones starts a step behind just by being connected to Indiana Jones instead of Star Wars, and it doesn't make up any ground with its less-than-stellar level design. Unless you are a hardcore Indiana Jones fan or you loved the previous Lego games so much that you absolutely have to have another one, I wouldn't recommend playing this game.